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Basic Economy on Partner Airlines: Same Rules as Delta Air Lines?

Basic Economy on Partner Airlines: Same Rules as Delta Air Lines?

Old Oct 28, 2023, 5:56 pm
  #1  
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Basic Economy on Partner Airlines: Same Rules as Delta Air Lines?

I am looking to book an international ticket in 2024 between Atlanta and Athens.

If I book the fare in Basic Economy on Delta Air Lines, I earn and get absolutely nothing other than the transportation itself, as shown below.




On Air France and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, I have the opportunity to book similar itineraries at similar prices as what Delta Air Lines offers. Unless I have not looked carefully enough, nowhere do their terms say that elite status will not be recognized; that I cannot earn credit towards Medallion elite status next year; or that I cannot earn SkyMiles for this trip. Here is Air France as an example:



Do the same rules apply to SkyMiles members who book Basic Economy tickets through the web sites of partner airlines as if booked through Delta Air Lines?

Thank you in advance for your assistance.
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Old Oct 28, 2023, 6:54 pm
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Delta has one of the more restrictive basic economy products, and "Economy Light" on Air France and KLM is not as restrictive.

If you book an AF*-marketed or KL*-marketed Economy Light fare, you will...

1. Earn SkyMiles, MQMs, and MQDs, according to a multiplier of distance flown based on the fare class (see this page on delta.com for the tables).
2. Be able to choose your seat for free (on a DL-operated flight) or for a cost / free with elite status (on an AF, KL, and VS-operated flights).

Note that airfrance.com and klm.com sometimes book you on DL-marketed flights, so it's not guaranteed that you will get the AF* or KL*-marketed flights.

VS*-marketed Economy Light fares have their own fare class (T), which still earns SkyMiles but Delta recognizes as Basic Economy on their flights so you do not get advance seat selection.

I've flown on a lot of KL*-marketed basic economy fares, if you have more specific questions please ask.
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Old Oct 28, 2023, 7:16 pm
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If they are non-stop DL operated flights, the AF/KL websites will definitely sell them as DL marketed (you will see a DL flight number on option as shown below) BE fares in E class with all the restrictions of those fares (including no mileage earn). So if OP is looking at booking ATL-ATH non-stop DL flights, there is no advantage to booking them on AF/KL websites. In order to avoid the DL marketing and get AF/KL marketing, you need to book flights with a connection (can be either in US or EU). AF/KL do not have a separate booking class for their Light fares (they will book into one of their coach classes based on fare basis code) and will earn according to AF/KL charts.




Here is a return option with BOS connection. In this case, KL marketing codes are used on both DL flights and the flights will have a KL R booking class and flights will earn according to partner chart for that KL fare class. The 'B' in second to last character of fare basis code identifies it as a KL Light fare (DL also uses this position to desiginate fare cabin type with B used for DL BE fares).

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Last edited by xliioper; Oct 28, 2023 at 7:31 pm
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Old Oct 28, 2023, 8:14 pm
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Originally Posted by xliioper
So if OP is looking at booking ATL-ATH non-stop DL flights, there is no advantage to booking them on AF/KL websites.
One flight at which I was looking at has this as the outbound with a stop in Paris...



...and this as the return with a stop in Amsterdam.



Both Air France and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines offer this option as well as Delta Air Lines. Neither are non-stop either way.

The flights to and from the United States are operated by Delta Air Lines.
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Old Oct 28, 2023, 9:09 pm
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Originally Posted by Canarsie
One flight at which I was looking at has this as the outbound with a stop in Paris...



...and this as the return with a stop in Amsterdam.



Both Air France and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines offer this option as well as Delta Air Lines. Neither are non-stop either way.

The flights to and from the United States are operated by Delta Air Lines.

If you click through to the final pricing and click the link shown below, you will get marketing carrier flight numbers and fare basis codes. The above DL operated flights will be KL coded due to connections. You don't have to worry about booking non-stop with above dates as the seasonal ATL-ATH non-stop does not return until March 30th.

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Old Oct 28, 2023, 9:31 pm
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Originally Posted by xliioper
If you click through to the final pricing and click the link shown below, you will get marketing carrier flight numbers and fare basis codes. The above DL operated flights will be KL coded due to connections. You don't have to worry about booking non-stop with above dates as the seasonal ATL-ATH non-stop does not return until March 30th.
Thank you, xliioper and VFR.

It will be great to earn SkyMiles and, perhaps some credit towards Medallion status on this flight...
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Old Oct 29, 2023, 12:53 am
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Re KLM Light fares from US to Europe:
  • KLM operated: You have to pay for seats - or free for Silver and above.
  • DL operated: No free seat, DL treats it as a basic economy fare.
  • Extra luggage per Elite rules.
Marketing carrier is irrelevant to the above, it is based on operating carrier. I believe earning miles is based on marketing carrier.
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Old Oct 29, 2023, 6:27 am
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Originally Posted by BigFlyer
Re KLM Light fares from US to Europe:
  • KLM operated: You have to pay for seats - or free for Silver and above.
  • DL operated: No free seat, DL treats it as a basic economy fare.
  • Extra luggage per Elite rules.
Marketing carrier is irrelevant to the above, it is based on operating carrier. I believe earning miles is based on marketing carrier.
Earning miles is absolutely based on marketing, not operating, carrier. The DL website will almost always sell both DL and partner metal as DL marketed flights (unlike AF/KL websites which sells DL metal non-stops as DL marketed). If they are DL E class marketed flights, they will earn no miles no matter who operates flight or how the class is labeled (KL/AF flights will be labeled as "Economy Light" on delta.com with BE fares, but will earn no miles due to DL coded flight number with E booking class).

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Last edited by xliioper; Oct 29, 2023 at 6:36 am
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Old Oct 29, 2023, 3:19 pm
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Originally Posted by xliioper
Earning miles is absolutely based on marketing, not operating, carrier. The DL website will almost always sell both DL and partner metal as DL marketed flights (unlike AF/KL websites which sells DL metal non-stops as DL marketed). If they are DL E class marketed flights, they will earn no miles no matter who operates flight or how the class is labeled (KL/AF flights will be labeled as "Economy Light" on delta.com with BE fares, but will earn no miles due to DL coded flight number with E booking class).

I've wondered why DL labels those fares "Economy Light", when they seem identical to Basic Economy. It's kind of misleading as it could lead a purchaser to conclude that it is the same as KLM or AF Economy Light.
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Old Oct 29, 2023, 3:52 pm
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Originally Posted by BigFlyer
I've wondered why DL labels those fares "Economy Light", when they seem identical to Basic Economy. It's kind of misleading as it could lead a purchaser to conclude that it is the same as KLM or AF Economy Light.
They use the partner name for cabins. If you book AMS-ATH it'll say Europe Business, etc...
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Old Oct 30, 2023, 6:08 am
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Originally Posted by flyerCO
They use the partner name for cabins. If you book AMS-ATH it'll say Europe Business, etc...
This. Delta is using the partners name for the respective cabin. Same with PE, its either Premium Economy ( AF ), Premium comfort ( KL ) or Premuim Select ( DL ).
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Old Oct 30, 2023, 8:13 am
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Related question: I am booking KLM-marketed flight from AMS to US, open-jaw ticket (returning from a different airport). Operated by Delta inbound, Air France on return.

This results in only one Economy fare option displayed after choosing the flight:



I cannot risk booking into Basic Economy on Delta since this is an MQM run too.
It looks to me like Economy Standard (not light), although the "no free seat selection" raises doubts. Can the experts confirm this will be main cabin?
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Old Oct 30, 2023, 8:51 am
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Originally Posted by Firstboss
Related question: I am booking KLM-marketed flight from AMS to US, open-jaw ticket (returning from a different airport). Operated by Delta inbound, Air France on return.

This results in only one Economy fare option displayed after choosing the flight:



I cannot risk booking into Basic Economy on Delta since this is an MQM run too.
It looks to me like Economy Standard (not light), although the "no free seat selection" raises doubts. Can the experts confirm this will be main cabin?
KLM charges for seat assignments, even in Business nowadays on lower fares. (Business is exempt on JV TATL routes, but cheap Y fares do require fee absent status)

IT would say Economy Light and would be full of restrictions. (The fact can change for just fare difference is key)
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Old Oct 30, 2023, 8:57 am
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Originally Posted by Firstboss
Related question: I am booking KLM-marketed flight from AMS to US, open-jaw ticket (returning from a different airport). Operated by Delta inbound, Air France on return.

This results in only one Economy fare option displayed after choosing the flight:



I cannot risk booking into Basic Economy on Delta since this is an MQM run too.
It looks to me like Economy Standard (not light), although the "no free seat selection" raises doubts. Can the experts confirm this will be main cabin?
You should be safe, but you can follow "View trip details and ticket conditions" link to be sure. As long as flights have KL flight numbers and not DL flight numbers you are safe. A DL flight number together with a fare that has a 'B' in the second to last character of the 8 letter fare basis code indicates a DL BE fare that earns no MQM/MQD/miles. The fare basis codes are shown at the bottom of each direction in trip details as shown in post #3 above.
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Last edited by xliioper; Oct 30, 2023 at 9:53 am
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Old Oct 30, 2023, 9:34 am
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Originally Posted by xliioper
You should be safe, but you can follow "View trip details and ticket conditions" link to be sure. As long as flights have KL flight numbers and not DL flight numbers you are safe.
A DL flight number together with a fare that has a 'B' in the second to last character of the 8 letter fare basis code indicates a DL BE fare that earns no MQM/MQD/miles.
The fare basis codes are shown at bottom of the bottom of each direction in trip details as shown in post #3 above.
Thank you, xliioper very useful nuance to know!
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